Souks and dinner at the Ritz-Carlton

On Saturday we woke up late after a relatively late night the evening before. We decided to head to the Dubai Mall to find somewhere to have breakfast/brunch. We ended up at a place called Social House that served breakfast on weekends until 2 pm. I had a sandwich called Messy Sally, which was a grilled emmental sandwich with eggs, hollandaise sauce, Portobello mushrooms and grilled tomato. You could pick turkey, chicken or salmon to accompany the sandwich but I opted for a vegetarian version. Hubby chose a local dish, Shakshuka, i.e. baked eggs, minced beef in smoky tomato and bell pepper sauce with pita bread, black olives and creamy labneh. The breakfast was tasty and very filling.

Shakshuka

After eating we headed out to have a look at the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa, which was an impressive sight. We strolled around the mall for a while and then took the metro to Al Ghubaiba. Our aim was to visit the spice and gold souks. To get across the creek, we utilized the abra or wooden boat that only costs 1 AED (0.24 EUR) per person. Once we reached the other shore we walked around the spice souk and the gold souk. The souks were quite an experience but luckily less traumatic than similar places in e.g. Turkey, as here the merchants would only approach you verbally and not try to touch you (which naturally stems from religious reasons) and after saying “No thank you” a couple of times they would leave you alone. Regardless, it was quite tiresome to keep repeating the phrase “No thank you” every other step and this was also why I didn’t take any pictures inside the souks.

Burj Khalifa
Fountain in front of Burj Khalifa where the water show is held at night
Xmas decorations inside the mall
We found this super-cool Italian “market” in the Dubai Mall
An abra that will take you across the creek for 1 AED
A spice shop outside the gold souk

A short abra ride, long metro ride and short tram ride later we were back at the hotel and started googling for dinner options. We ended up selecting a restaurant called Blue Jade located at the Ritz-Carlton that had been named the Best Southeast Asian Restaurant by TimeOut Dubai. We ordered cocktails to kick-off the dinner, a Ritz-tini (gin, dry vermouth, ginger chili, star anise and gun powder) and a Jade gin tonic (gin, lemongrass, lime house, crafted pandan syrup and tonic water) and were served the best-ever prawn crackers with sweet chili sauce with the drinks. My starter was papaya salad with soft shell crab, tomato and tamarind fish dressing and hubby had Asian tuna tartare served with pickled ginger, coriander, sesame, and lime chili dressing. For my main I chose Japanese miso black cod with sautéed vegetable and hubby had black pepper beef. The food was really good, the service impeccable and the ambiance nice. They paid close attention to detail, for example when I put my handbag on the floor the waiter appeared immediately with a small stool to place the bag on. Also when I managed to drop my fork on the floor a new one was delivered without delay.

Best prawn crackers I have ever tasted
Lovely poinsettia display in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton

Two more posts to follow from this trip, next one on our excursion to Abu Dhabi.

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